Australian letters

3 August 2019

9:00 AM

3 August 2019

9:00 AM

Hearing voices

Sir: I imagine that John Stone (“Dis-con notes”, July 27) would, like me, have no objections to an “Aboriginal Voice” section embedded somewhere in the Public Service but not in the Constitution. The alternative is that such legislation might justify an “Italian Immigrant Voice” in Parliamentary debate or a Lebanese Liaison Service advising the Commissioner of Police or an Asian Advisory Association spouting its cultural  ideology to Defence.

These are the things that, I equally imagine, might give both Mr Stone and me pause in being too robust in our support of a racist constitutional recognition that is more divisive than we have ever had elsewhere in any of our laws.
Robert T. Walker
Wagga Wagga, NSW


Sir: Last week’s lead article (‘Boris begins’, 27 July) suggested that if we leave without a deal, ‘the Johnson government will have another huge challenge on its hands — how to avert large-scale economic damage’. I have some experience of the conduct of economic policy, and I hope you will forgive me for saying that this is poppycock.

Leaving the EU without a trade deal will cause some short-term disruption, but the essence of good government is to do what is best for the medium and long term, whatever the short-term difficulties. And although the main purpose of Brexit is political — i.e. self-government — the economic consequences will be hugely positive, not least through regaining our regulatory autonomy. It should be clear to the meanest intelligence that if there were any economic case for EU membership, the EU (an overtly political project) would not be the world’s economic basket-case, which it is.
Nigel Lawson
London SW1

Bad cops

Sir: Rod Liddle nails it when he says: ‘We’ve made morons of our police force’ (27 July). There are numerous examples in recent years where police forces have unquestioningly swallowed whole every diversity, gender, inclusivity and race shibboleth and have lost their way. Take the example of Northamptonshire police, which went from helmets to baseball caps ‘to attract non-binary’ recruits, or the Met police which suspended an officer for using the term ‘whiter than white’ in a briefing.

I hope the new policing minister is able to inject some common sense back in. He might start by reversing the decision that all police will have to be graduates. We need hard-nosed, old-fashioned coppers — a term that would probably make many chief constables wince. If Boris Johnson is keen to recruit 20,000 more police in the short-term, he might turn to the many young men and women who have left the armed services as a result of defence cuts. He would find no shortage of common sense, robustness or self-discipline there.
Martyn Thomas
London SE27

God omitted

Sir: It was good of Dan Hitchens to remind us of Boris’s admiration for his namesake Samuel (‘Johnson & Johnson’, 27 July). I remember hearing Boris on the edition of Great Lives in which his subject was the great Samuel. I wrote to ask why, since Samuel Johnson’s most enthusiastic passion was for God, God was never mentioned in the programme. Boris replied saying: ‘Matthew Parris and I discussed Johnson’s faith in God at great length but, for some reason, that part of our conversation got completely left out.’
Revd Dr Peter Mullen

Don’t kill wasps…

Sir: Regarding James Delingpole’s wasp nest extermination, (27 July): a world without wasps would mean a world with less pollination and many more pests preying on crops and gardens.
Mick Wharton
Laxfield, Suffolk

But if you must…

Sir: I can find no reference to this on the internet, but if it is really absolutely essential to destroy a wasps’ nest, all that is required is to put a pile of fresh grass cuttings over the hole in the evening. No chemicals, no danger! The method was passed down to me some 40 odd years ago, so I have not given much thought to the mechanisms involved, but a better informed reader may know.
Alex Baillie
Dochgarroch, Inverness

A bedsit philosopher

Sir: I found Edmund West’s article (‘Great and small’, 27 July) very refreshing to read. Edmund lives in a bedsit and works as a carer. He is autistic and has a hearing problem. He does not have much. But he is happy with his lot. The art of being happy is to be content. Stop looking over the fence at what you imagine is greener grass. Thank you, Edmund.
Sally Jenkins
Sutton Coldfield, W. Midlands

Scruton vindicated

Sir: I was pleased that Theresa May’s government righted at least one ‘burning injustice’ before her resignation, albeit one of its own making, by giving Sir Roger Scruton his job back (‘Antisocial media’, 27 July). Thanks are owed to Douglas Murray. I was so angry over Scruton’s treatment that I cancelled my Conservative party membership. Perhaps I will now rejoin.
Karl Williams
Malvern, Worcestershire

Missing Poles

Sir: As a 90-year-old Pole, here in the UK since 1940, I am not bothered by the lack of Poles on television (‘Poles apart’, 20 July). What has long puzzled me is the shortage of Poles, compared with other immigrant groups, in parliament.

Mr Kowalczyk offers a possible explanation (Letters, 27 July): this feeling of persistent ‘Polishness’ may be a clue.
Andre Zaluski
Billingham, Co. Durham

Rafiki’s identity

Sir: I enjoyed Deborah Ross’s recent review of The Lion King (Arts, 20 July), which was spot on except for a common misconception: Rafiki is not a baboon. Baboons are a dull grey-brown colour and make for poor shamans. That wonderfully loopy weirdo with the war paint at both ends is in fact a mandrill.
Harry Cobb
Wellington, New Zealand

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